School start time affects teenagers adversely

Anastasia Zenkevich is just like many other students in high school; she just can't stay awake.

Photo Credit: Julia Blando

Anastasia Zenkevich is just like many other students in high school; she just can’t stay awake.

by Julia Blando, Staff Writer

Do students pay attention in class? I know I don’t. I mean, do teachers really expect us to be able to stay awake in school when some of us get up at 5:30 a.m., and our bodies are wired to get up at 8 a.m.? It really doesn’t make sense. If school started only an hour later, it would make a huge difference in teenagers, and, therefore, the future of our generation.

Teenagers need sleep to function. It is recommended that we get at least 8.5 hours of sleep per night, while the vast majority of us only get 6.5 to 7 hours. Also, our sleep cycles have shifted about two since we were younger. In elementary school, kids are normally happy going to bed at 9:30 and waking up before 7 a.m. But as High Schoolers, we’re better off falling asleep at 11, and waking up at 8 a.m..

By waking up too early, we pay a considerable academic price since, if we’re tired, we’re more likely to slack off in class. First-year students at the air-force academy who didn’t have 8 a.m. classes had better grades overall than the rest of the students at the academy. This proves that just a little more sleep in the morning can have a big impact.

I have to wake up early, which sucks. And I want go to sleep in my classes. I liked it better last year because I got to wake up at 8:10 and go to school, not 7:10. Go away, I’m trying to sleep”

— Damien Blando, sixth grade.

If we went to bed early, I think it would be easier to get up early. But a lot of teens, like freshman, Katie DeStefano, cannot fall asleep until 11 p.m. She states that her mind isn’t awake until about 10:30 a.m. “I can’t pay attention until atleast 9:30 every morning, so my first classes are always really hard to get through, and my grades are suffering. It’s not fair to the students that we have to wake up so early and then stay up for hours at night doing homework,” she says.

Homework is another huge reason teenagers stay up so late at night. Vanessa Hettesheimer, a junior, often becomes swamped with homework. “With the amount of homework teachers give, I don’t understand how they expect us to be up and ready at 7:30,” she says.

Some kids I know are up until midnight studying, typing up papers, and doing homework. If we’re up that late, obviously we won’t be putting 100% into our homework, and since we didn’t go to bed until really late, we aren’t going to do as well as we can the next morning either.

Another negative to not having enough energy is kids, especially teenagers, resort to sugary-foods to try and wake themselves up. This causes a short sugar-high, and then soon after, we crash and burn: not to mention the surplus calories.

It’s not like we just gain energy throughout the day either. When I get home, all I want to do is go to sleep for a few hours.

“I have to wake up early, which sucks. And I want go to sleep in my classes. I liked it better last year because I got to wake up at 8:10 and go to school, not 7:10. Go away, I’m trying to sleep,” says Damien Blando, a sixth grader, while looking practically dead while lying on the wood floor, with his homework sprawled out in front of him.

I bet Damien and other new middle schoolers are trying to figure out when waking up so early will stop being so hard. Unfortunately, soon the newbie’s will realize the terrible truth; it never does get easier. I propose that administrators should change the start time of school to later in the day.